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Big Idea 3: Evaluate Multiple Perspectives

6 min readβ€’december 28, 2022

Steven Kucklick

Steven Kucklick

AP SeminarΒ πŸ’¬

13Β resources
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Big Idea 3 Overview

Big Idea 3 is focused on understanding the complexity of an issue by looking at the multiple viewpoints that people have on it. Understandably, this Big Idea may seem smaller compared to something like BI 2. However, the fact that this topic is brought up in the other Big Ideas pretty often means it's an important one.
One of the things that will turn a just okay argumentative paper into a great argumentative paper is how well you address the multiple perspectives and complexities of an issue.

Image Courtesy of Giphy.

What is Perspective?

Before we even jump into the Essential Questions, we need to figure out what perspective even means in the context of Seminar.
There are really two ways that you can think about perspective:
  • The viewpoint πŸ” that someone has on a particular argument.
    • For example: If I am arguing that school shouldn't take place on Friday, my perspective is that school shouldn't happen on Friday. Easy enough, right?
  • The particular way that someone has chosen to look at an idea.
    • This is when the idea ofΒ lensesΒ πŸ‘“ comes into play. There are lots of ways that you can choose to look at a research question beyond whether you support an argument or you don't. When you look at a question through aΒ lens,Β you are taking a unique perspective on it.
    • Some examples of lenses are:Β 
      • Historical 🀠
      • Cultural and Social 🎨
      • Ethical βš•οΈ
      • Environmental ♻️
    • By choosing to look at your research question through the historical lens, you will acquire different perspectives than someone who looked at it through the ethical lens.
    • Typically you will discuss these lenses when you write your Individual Research Report. (IRR)
    • In Performance Task 1, you and your group are tasked with coming up with a real-world problem that you want answered. However, it is up to you to look at that problem (or research question) through a unique perspective (or lens πŸ”).
    • These lenses πŸ” will inform the type of research that you do and the way that you will present it.
Quick Tip: When you go to write your IRR, make sure that you pick lenses that fit your research question. Don't feel like someone has to do a historical lens or has to do a political lens. Pick the ones that work best for your group!

The Essential Questions of Big Idea 3

Essential Questions Overview

Alright! Now that we have defined perspective, let's jump into the EQ's. πŸ€”
While it is your job to argue for one side over the other, you still need to address that other side and highlight why it's relevant. This Big Idea is all about building the skill set that will allow you to be successful when analyzing multiple perspectives.
First, let's look at the Essential Questions πŸ€”:
  1. What patterns or trends can be identified among the arguments about the issue?
  2. What are the implications and/or consequences of accepting or rejecting a particular argument?
  3. How can I connect the multiple perspectives? What other issues, questions, or topics do they relate to?
  4. How can I explain contradictions within or between arguments?
  5. From whose perspective is this information being presented, and how does that affect my evaluation?
Quick Tip: You will be analyzing perspective in everything that you do for Seminar. The way that you look at perspective might be different depending on what you're doing, but you should always be thinking about perspective.

Using the Essential Questions to Understand Perspective

Unlike the other Big Idea EQs where you want consider them but not actively use them, you really want to use these EQs as a guide to developing proper perspective. Think of them almost like steps that you need to take when approaching an argument or research question.
Let's use an example here and look at how the EQ's can help us better understand perspective. I'm going to give a fairly generic research question πŸ€” and show how we would work through it using the EQs.

Image Courtesy of Giphy

Question: Should the average school 🏫 day be four days a week?Β πŸ‘¨β€πŸŽ“

  • EQ 1: The first step is to find some basic arguments surrounding the question. This should go beyond simply that the school week should be shorter or shouldn't be shorter. Instead, look for arguments that attempt to give a reason to why it should or why it shouldn't. Do these reasons use scientific data? Historical examples? Social reasoning?
  • EQ 2: What are the implications of accepting one argument over another? So in other words, why might I accept argument A instead of argument B? Does argument B make valid points that still need to be considered?
  • EQ 3: Are there any arguments that agree that school weeks should be shorter, but for different reasons? Can I maybe connect those two perspectives? Also, what else does this research question impact? I could maybe look at mental health in students or the importance of extra curricular activities. These aren't my original research question, but they do relate to it.
  • EQ 4: Is there anything within the arguments that I looked at that just doesn't make sense? You should be looking for pitfalls within arguments. No argument is going to be airtight and it's important that you recognize where those shortcomings are. For example, someone may argue about the importance of a four day school week, but not mention what parents will do with kids on that extra day off.
  • EQ 5: Who is making the argument and why are they making it? Knowing who the author of an argument is will always help you understand their perspective. Is a teacher arguing? A student? A doctor? A parent? This will inform the bias of the argument and help you better understand the perspective.

How Big Idea 3 Relates to the Exam

Evaluating perspectives is needed to be successful on all parts of the Performance Tasks and Exam. We'll be looking at the rubrics and show exactly how you'll be using it.

Performance Task 1

Individual Research Report

  • Looking at the IRR rubric, we can see that 20% of your grade will come from analyzing perspective.
  • Note that you need to be drawing connections between the multiple perspectives!

Team Multimedia Presentation

  • While this row in the Team Multimedia Presentation rubric does not outright mention "perspectives," it does talk about the team's ability to look at things like limitations and implications. Remember, these are all things that you should have been making note of early in the research process.

Performance Task 2

Individual Written Argument

  • Like the IRR, a big focus of your Individual Written Argument (IWA) will be to recognize and talk about multiple perspectives. As we can see with the rubric above, you will really be putting into practice a lot of the Essential Questions that we talked about above. Things like implications, connections, and limitations are all important.
  • In order to aceΒ πŸ’―Β this portion of the IWA, you should consider multiple perspectives when crafting your argument. How does your argument appeal to multiple other perspectives? Also, don't be afraid to talk about why some people may not support your argument.

Individual Multi-Media Presentation

  • In your presentation, make sure that you talk about the multiple perspectives you considered in your IWA. You can do this when you talk about your evidence and when you talk about your argument more broadly.

In Conclusion...

Perspective is important‼️ Understanding the perspective of an argument before you start digging into research will help inform how you talk about it and how you view it.
As you write, make sure that you're including evidence from multiple perspectives and talking about how they interact together. And don't forget, you should include perspectives that disagree with you! Use them to explain why your argument is the strongest.
Research Tip: See how other researchers acknowledge and connect multiple perspectives. You can borrow some of their connection methods, such as the transitions they use, for your own papers.
Browse Study Guides By Unit
🀨Big Idea 1: Question and Explore
🧐Big Idea 2: Understand and Analyze
πŸ‘₯Big Idea 3: Evaluate Multiple Perspectives
πŸ’‘Big Idea 4: Synthesize Ideas
πŸ—£Big Idea 5: Team, Transform, and Transmit
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